Monday, June 7, 2010

Adventures Back East

Hello All. I'm sure you have all enjoyed Chris' adventures in blogging while Lil and I have been away. Contrary to what I know you have all feared, I came home to find that the house was still standing and the power was still on and things were in decent shape. He even changed our sheets, which is very important to me, but not very important to him. When I came in the door I was surprised to find flowers, a sweet card, and best of all---he had refinished our old coffee table and replaced the knobs to surprise me.

Lily and I had a great time in Boston, then Maine, then Vermont...but it proved to be a little long to be away from Chris. The occasion for the trip was my little sister Lindsey's graduation from college in Maine. My sister Rachel, aunts, cousins, etc. went early to enjoy each other and a few days in Boston before driving up to Maine for the graduation, after which my two sisters and I drove with my Dad and step-mom Tammy to their home in Vermont for a week. I had a blast spending time with loved ones that I see so rarely these days. While in Vermont, Lily came down with a scary high fever of 104+ that wouldn't break with tylenol, motrin, and cold baths so we had a few rough days and a 2 a.m. trip to the emergency room. She had no symtoms aside from the fever and her blood work, etc. all came back normal, so all in all, after chest x-rays, urine and blood cultures, etc. it was just a really expensive way of finding out that she must have had some viral or bacterial infection. It all cleared up and she had no signs of fever shortly after coming home from the ER. While we were there we visited the Joseph Smith memorial and went to church right near his birthplace on Sunday. I was extremely grateful to be able to have the mission president there give Lily a blessing and I credit the blessing for her speedy recovery.

We missed Chris and he missed us and we are glad to be back home. I have told Chris that he now has a readership that he can't let down and so hopefully he will contintue to entertain you on the blog...actually I might make him start his own blog so you don't worry about sorting the fact from the fiction...

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I have been putting off writing what happened the last few days of Sarah and Lily's vacation. In part I haven't written because we have been so busy with insurance and other issues, but also because, well, it is just really embarrassing.

So on Friday I got home from work pretty early. There had been enough adventure in my life over the previous nine days to pretty much quench my thirst for that type of thing forever, which is why I decided I would cut my loses and not to anything that could get me into more trouble while Sarah was gone.

So after a a dinner of Cheerios with water on them (in case you forgot the power has been out in the house for a few days. I initially poured milk on my Cheerios, but the milk was bad. So after one bite, which led to a full body convulsion when my tongue realized what was going on, which then resulted in a mouth full of cheerios and spoiled milk being plastered across the walls, counter tops and floor of the kitchen, this led to several glasses of water, and extensive teeth brushing before I was brave enough to give another bowl of Cheerios, this time without milk a try) I went out to mow the lawn.

The lawn was mowed without incident. Well, there was one minor incident. I spilled some gas on my shirt as I was filling up the mower, but no big deal right? Now all I had to do was sit inside and wait until Saturday and 10 pm for Sarah to get home. It seemed like my nightmare was about to end. Now I don't know how many of you have sat around without power for extended periods of time, but it gets boring pretty quick. What to do, what to do? I walked around the house for a bit looking for anything that could occupy my time for a few hours until I could go to sleep. There was nothing to do. Finally I decided I couldn't get into too much trouble if I just read a book. It was getting a bit dark by now so I went out on my front porch to read. Before I knew it, it was too dark to read, but now I was interested in what was going on in the book. I had to find out what would happen to Bella and Edward, er I mean I had to find out how Paul Volker was able to pull the country out of Carter era economic stagflation.

Ok, so I can't lie, I was actually reading Twilight. But, to my defense it was horrible. I mean, Bella's only perceivable strength is her blood smells good! What is that?! I mean she isn't all that smart, or popular or interesting or even pretty. She can't even seem to walk a straight line without falling down! Why, why would anyone be interested in her?!

But I digress... So it is too dark to read anymore of this stupid book, but I am hooked now, I can't stop. Twilight is like crack, highly addictive and absolute napalm for your brain. This napalm effect is what I attribute the next sequence of decisions to.

With new purpose I walk inside the house, I must find some sort of luminary device so I can finish this stupid book. I can't find any flash lights and the batteries in my headlamp are dead.
Ah what luck! I am able to find one of those aromatic candles people use around Christmas time. Any port in a storm, I guess. So I light the candle and am immediately over powered by the smell of cranberries and holly.

I set the candle on my night stand and open the book hoping that the next chapter will explain that Edward is actually a bad vampire and ends up killing Belle and moves back to Transylvania the end. But there are still way too many pages for that, and really, I am just not that lucky.

With the candle on the night stand the light is coming up from below the book, and thus the pages are obscured in shadow and unreadable. Still under the "twilight, aka napalm effect" I slowly perceive that to read by candle light the light must be shining down from above. My mind racing, I realize that the perfect solution for this is to balance the candle in the top of the head board leaning into the wall. After just a bit of maneuvering the candle is perfectly positioned over my reading area and leaning back just enough to touch the wall but still cast light on me. I settle in.

About one hundred pages later I am seeing that this book is not going to end well at all. It is definitely heading towards some sort of happy ending. I am not happy. I am also not comfortable. And strangely enough I have a craving for candy canes and some Bing Crosby Christmas music. Sitting in the same position for an hour is killing my neck and back. I do a quick little bounce on the bed to shift my position. This was a huge mistake.

As I adjusted my position the whole bad shook just enough to knock the candle from its precarious perch. It falls on my dumping wax all over my head. It also is able to light my shirt on fire, and thanks to the gas I spilled on my shirt earlier ignites at a surprisingly rapid rate. Despite my temporary blindness caused by candle wax hardening in my eyes I am able to get the shirt off with only minor singeing to my person. The problem is I now can not see where the burning shirt is.

I search in vain for it for about thirty seconds until I can feel the heat and even see the red glow around me and I realize I have caught the house on fire.

It is shockingly hard to get someone to call 911 for you when you are running around with red wax all down your face and in your eyes (which in retrospect probably looked like blood in the dark) and no shirt on. Eventually one of the neighbors did call 911, but it was too late. I burned the house down.

I guess insurance will cover most of the damages, and everyone was ok, but man, what a total disaster. We are stuck living in a motel until we can figure out what we are going to do for a new house, all my cool stuff got burned up, and the worst part of it, Sarah will never trust me again. It's like for the rest of our lives anytime I say "Just trust me Sarah" she can always come back with "Remember when I trusted you and your burned the house down." There is no response to that. For the rest of my life Sarah will always have the argument ender. That is unless I can some how get her to burn down an even better house...

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Day Six: Things Get Worse Before They Get Better (I Hope)

I usually update the blog at the end of the day, but for you astute readers you will notice I am updating the blog at 9:15 am. You may be asking "Why the change Chris?" The answer is simple really, I don't have power at my house and therefore can not use any non-battery powered electrical devices. Now you might be thinking to yourself "Man, his life just can't get any worse." And my response would be "You got a lot of nerve buddy judging me like that." But in fact my life can get worse, and is, in fact, worse.

So yesterday morning I could not find my house keys. They turned out to me in the permanent possession of a former friend. This curious turn of events brought about the challenge of getting into the house. What made the most sense is to see if any of the basement windows had been left unlocked, and if one had simply slide it open and climb in. I checked all the windows and they were all locked. This was a bit of a set back in my plan of gaining entrance to my house. The situation was getting a bit grim at this point, because it dawned on my that my list of possibly options was rapidly dwindling. So, it was with great resignation that I scoured my yard for a rock big enough to perform the task at hand.

Let me just segway for one moment and give a friendly bit of advice: If you ever need to bash open a window in your house with a rock make sure you are small enough, or the window is large enough for you to fit through.

I found a rock with good heft and a point on one end that looked like it was designed for bashing. The window was surprisingly strong, and it took a couple of smacks(and several "lacerations" as they call them in the emergency room, to my hands)before both panes broke, but they finally did. Success! I would be in my house in no time! Except for the matter of not checking that I could fit through the window. I couldn't.

Back to square one. I knew I could fit through the kitchen window, so I bashed that one open after a few more tries and lacerations. I climbed through the window into the house. As I was triumphantly surveying my castle from the inside I noticed something that made my heart stop beating for a moment and almost all resolve leave my soul. The latch to lock the kitchen window was in the open position. I could have just slid the window open and climbed in without bashing any windows and without slicing my hands open even once, much less several times.

In a state can that only be described as pure dejection I walked over to the wall to flip the light on (since it was dark by the time I had finally gained entrance). Yep, the power company had come and turned the power off. A perfect ending to a perfect day.

As I sat in the dark, bleeding and quietly crying to myself the thought entered my head "Well, at least it can't get any worse than this."

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Day Three-Five: A New Friend?

As I sit down to write this my mind is filled with more questions than answers. What does it mean to be a friend? Is there really such a thing as a friend, or are we truly alone in this life, neither knowing or being known. And finally, where are my house keys? When I got home from my weekend adventure last night I had to sleep in the garage. Possibly, in writing this I will learn some of the answers to these questions.

The adventure began on Friday afternoon. I was able to duck out of the office a bit early (around 11 am) to kick off the weekend. I went home to find that Netflix had sent me "Hidden Fortress". I also found that the power company had plastered some "final notice" paper on the front door. I should really take care of that. Anyway, Hidden Fortress was a Samurai movie, and no joke, Star Wars was a pretty blatant rip off. Well, except for the Star Destroyers and Laser guns, and Death Star, and Robots, well, you get the idea. Anyway, so I am enjoying one of Akira Kurosawa's masterpieces (I am also enjoying the Brunch of Champions which consists of a large Cherry Slurpee, a Pizza Hut Meat Lovers Pizza, a Denny's Grand Slam and a box of Hostess Powdered Donettes) when the doorbell rings. So, I pause the movies set down my plate, and yes, I fit all that food onto one plate, (I guess technically the "plate" was the lid of a garbage can, but now we are just arguing semantics) and ran upstairs to see who had come to visit. Maybe people that are home in the day are use to this kind of thing but it was a new phenomenon to me, but apparently there are these guys from the "Inner City" that have an opportunity to get out of that life by selling magazine subscriptions door to door. Right before my very eyes was a young man, James, trying to better his life by selling magazine subscriptions.

I didn't ask how the whole "get out of the inner-city by selling magazine subscriptions" deal worked, and in hindsight I wish I had. I just assumed James had to sell X number of subscriptions and he got a nice house in the suburbs somewhere. Needless to say I wanted to help the kid out, so I bought two subscriptions from him. The problem was he didn't have any magazines I really wanted. I asked if he had US News and World Report or The Economist and he looked at me like I was crazy.

Not wanting to embarrass myself again while simultaneously wanting to look cool in front of James I just got subscriptions to Field and Steam and Better Homes and Gardens.

This got an even stranger look from him. I was not doing well at impressing James. Feeling the sting of failure creeping up my spine I asked him if he wanted a drink or anything to eat. He replied "Yeah, that would be cool man. Most of the people around here won't even let me get through my sales pitch, your a pretty decent guy."

Yes! I was in, James thought I was cool. "Don't blow it Chris by talking about anything too dorky" I thought. Thinking fast, but also feeling a little desperate I asked James if he ever shot dice. Just as the words left my mouth I thought "Chris you idiot, you are going to sound like the most white bread cracker out. Asking a guy like James if he shot dice was akin to asking someone from Alabama if he was married to his cousin". I braced myself for a stinging rebuke when James said "Yeah man, I like shooting dice, but I can't find any games around here."

I had found my in. After just a few minutes of convincing, James agreed to ditch selling magazine subscriptions to come play dice with me and the guys. And man, he made the right decision, James rolled nine 4's in a row! We made bank. The guys were sure James was cheating so when he finally rolled a 7 on his tenth roll they kicked us out of the game.

We both knew we had witnessed something amazing and that it would border on sacrilege not to do more with this gift James had. So we went to Wendover. The next 72 hours were a blur. James was a machine and at one point we were up $175 grand! I could not believe our luck, James was going to get that house in the suburbs and I was going to pay that stupid "final notice" bill from the power company.

It didn't really strike me as strange at the time, but now I see where it all started to unravel. James and I had just been "asked" to leave the Peppermill Casino by some large, unsavory looking Italian gentlemen. We were walking across the street to the Montego Bay when James said "Hey man, I need to call my Moms". It was 3:30 in the morning and seemed a little late to call home, but not wanting to look like a dork I said "No problem, I'll call home too." He said "Naw man, you just go on in and I will catch up in a minute. Oh, hey I need some money for the pay phone." I said "James I saw you talking on your cell phone like ten minutes ago." "That wasn't mine man, I borrowed it." "But it had 'James' written across the back in Rhine Stones." "Yeah, James is a common name." Just then his cell phone rang. "James I can hear you cell phone ringing." "Look man, just give me some money for the phone." "Ok, ok, how much do you need?" "How much you got on you?" "Well, I think I have around ninty-five grand." "Yeah, just give me that and I should be good." "Uhhh, but a phone call cost like twenty five cents. How about I give you a dollar?"

James was ticked, but he took the dollar and said he was "gonna get me later". I assumed at the time he meant catch up with me later, but hindsight is 20/20. So, I played craps for like an hour in which time I was able to loose all but $25 of my previous $94,999. At that point I realized James was the lucky one and I needed him to help me win it back. I went out into the street looking for him. It didn't take me long because he was looking for me. And so were his large, angry looking friends.

This is a family blog, so I am going to skip most of what happened next, but I will say they were not happy I had lost $94,974 dollars in an hour. They had plans for that money. Also, they had plans for my wallet, phone and car. Lucky for them I had not lost those items. Unlucky for me, I was about to.

Again, this is a family blog, so I will spare you some details, but hitchhiking home from Wendover is not much fun and sometimes you get kicked out of a car somewhere on the salt flats. It took me two days and 7 different rides to get home, but I finally made it. I also now remember where my house keys are; with my car keys in James' possession.

I am glad to be home, now I just need to figure out how to get into the house and pay the power bill...